5 Reasons to Swim Your Way to a Healthy Body

by Pool Builders on 12-05-2010 in Articles

Swimming as an exercise component of a fitness or weight loss program has the major benefit of being low impact. For many people jogging, cycling, or gym workouts places too much stress on joints and muscles - at least in the beginning.

Here I'll discuss the advantages of swimming as an exercise alternative and also it's use in exercising for weight loss.

PRIMARY BENEFITS OF SWIMMING:

1. Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength and cardio-vascular fitness.

2. Because you're 90 percent lighter in water and in a buoyant environment the impact on joints is much less compared to exercises on land.Athletes use water for rehabilitation purpose when they suffer injury, and this means it's an ideal activity for anybody who can't endure high impact exercising on land, or is obese and wants to start exercising for weight loss in a low impact environment.

3. Swimming increases your aerobic capacity as it strengthens multiple muscle groups and increases capacity of major organs such as heart and lungs. Increasing blood circulation and breathing is good for overall health and helps stem some degenerative diseases.

4. Water creates more resistance than air so you work harder when swimming compared to equivalent exercise on land. These makes your major parts such as hips, shoulders, arms and back exert 12 times more power and develops stronger muscles.

5. Swimming has multiple strokes to achieve the same purpose - freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke. These strokes have different demands on a swimmer, but even if you only become proficient in freestyle and breaststroke you can vary intensity of a swim session and also reduce boredom by just varying the stroke.

SWIMMING FOR WEIGHT LOSS:

Swimming alone may not get you to your desired weight quickly. Assuming you're not Michael Phelps or Janet Evans then your training schedule is probably modest enough not to burn off the calorie level of these individuals. This doesn't mean you can't lose weight swimming as part of your weight loss plan; it just might not happen as rapidly as if you jogged or cycled.

Here is the reason why just swimming alone will not help you to shed too many unwanted pounds. It has to do with the cooling effects of the water you're in when you swim. While plenty of calories are burned off through swimming, once you stop swimming and get out of the water the calorie burning efforts of your body stop working because the water keeps your body temperature cool. On the other hand when you cycle or run calories continuing to be burned for up to 18 hours following a workout.

But swimming does help with weight loss. Your potential to burn calories in the water works out to be 350 to 450 calories per hour. If you consume a nutritious diet on a consistent basis then swimming will encourage fat to stay away and it'll also increase your muscle mass. This will lead to a body that is leaner, firmer and better sculpted.

Deep-water walking in a pool will burn an estimated 240 calories for every half hour. Compare this to walking on land whereby you only burn 135 calories per half hour. This all has to do with the added resistance of being in the water.

TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL:

There are psychological benefits to swimming that stem from focusing on the feel of the water around you and the rhythm of your strokes. Swimming can be a great stress reliever. Relax in the water and swim as gently as you can. Do this for a period of 20 to 30 minutes.

Include some interval type training in the water. In other words, swim with low effort for a period of time - maybe using breaststroke - and then push yourself harder for one minute - using freestyle. Then once again drop back to a mild effort. When you exit the water you will be left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, both in body and in mind.

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